There are three phases of negotiations namely:
• Phase One – Exchanging Information
• Phase Two – Bargaining
• Phase Three – Closing
These phases describe the negotiation process itself.
Before the process begins, both parties need to prepare for the negotiation. This involves establishing their bargaining position by defining their BATNA, WATNA, and WAP (see Module Three). It also involves gathering information about the issues to be addressed in the negotiation.
After the negotiation, both parties should work to restore relationships that may have been frayed by the negotiation process.
It is essential to pay attention to all the phases of negotiation. Without the first phase, the exchange of information and the establishment of bargaining positions, the second phase cannot happen in any meaningful sense because no-one knows where they stand.
It sets a scene for demands to be manageable and reasonable.
Negotiations are, after all, about the art of the possible. Without the third phase, anything that has been decided during phase two cannot be formalised and will not take hold – leading to the necessity for further negotiation or an absolute breakdown in a relationship.